Bridge Bombing Suspect Had Ties To Occupy Cleveland

As James Joyner noted on Tuesday, five Cleveland area men were arrested after plotting to blow up a bridge in the area. Last night the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that one of those five men had ties to the Cleveland branch of the Occupy movement:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — One of the five self-described anarchists arrested last week for attempting to blow up a local bridge signed the lease for a West Side warehouse where about a dozen members of the Occupy Cleveland group live.

In a one-hour recording of a Friday evening general assembly meeting of the group posted on its website, occupy leaders expressed concern about Anthony Hayne’s name being on the lease, which strengthens his link to the group.

“We have a person facing terrorism charges on the lease of our warehouse,” said one of the leaders. “If this gets into the media, it would be a disaster.”

When announcing the arrests last week of Hayne and four other men, federal authorities described them as members of a radical fringe of Occupy Cleveland. the five remain in jail with court appearances scheduled for Monday.

Hayne, 35, of Cleveland, has a criminal record dating to 2000. He was one of five men arrested by the FBI and charged with setting fake explosive charges under the Ohio 82 bridge between Sagamore Hills Township and Brecksville Monday night.

An FBI affidavit said Hayne helped plan the bombing attempt. It also said he was one of a group that last Sunday picked up a duffel bag containing smoke grenades and gas masks, as well as two black boxes that the suspects thought contained bombs.

Joseph Zitt, spokesman for Occupy Cleveland, told The Plain Dealer Saturday that when they learned Hayne was arrested in the terrorism plot, the organization started working to get his name off the lease at the 3619 Walton Avenue property.

“The landlord said it would be fine to change the name. We’re working that out now,” Zitt said.

Zitt said Hayne happened to be on hand when the organization leased the warehouse to store items and serve as housing for some members.

“We needed a name on the lease, and he agreed to be it,” Zitt said. “I want to stress that rent [$600 a month] for the warehouse was paid directly to the landlord. No money was ever given to Hayne.”

The group’s income comes from contributions, it was said at Friday’s general assembly meeting.

Occupy Cleveland is thinking about moving from the warehouse.

During the general assembly meeting, one leader asked the group, “Is it just me? Aren’t you uncomfortable living in a warehouse where a guy has been arrested for terrorism? I don’t want to live in a place and have the FBI show up.”

You might also want to think about being a lot more careful about who you associate with. But, then, this is what happens when you have a leaderless “movement.”

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Terrorism, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Chad S says:

    I love how no one wants to link the “Operation: Rescue” to the killer of the abortion doctor in Kansas, even though he had private phone numbers from top people on his person/phone, but this is a news story. Oh well. The lesson is if you’re going to be a domestic terrorist, blow up an abortion clinic or kill an abortion doctor and its silently condoned.

  2. @Chad S:

    I don’t know what media you’re watching because the connections between anti-abortion groups and Dr. TIller’s murder were all over the media when it happened and were emphasized quite strongly the MSNBC documentary that ran about the case about six months ago.

  3. Chad S says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I never saw it reported more then an off hand comment in a few of the stories about it. I guarantee that this will get 20 times the coverage then that. I suspect that this will be one of the leads on Fox/CNN all week and be the toy of the fake libertarian/right wing blogosphere for longer.

  4. Well Chad, I’m no fan of the Tea Party for many reasons but at least they haven’t been associated with anyone who was plotting to commit an act of terrorism

  5. Hey Norm says:

    Association by drum circle…oh my!!!

  6. Dean says:

    Too bad there’s not some sort of search tool to see how the media quickly tied Operation Rescue to the murder of Dr. Tiller.

  7. Ebenezer Arvigenius says:

    Well Chad, I’m no fan of the Tea Party for many reasons but at least they haven’t been associated with anyone who was plotting to commit an act of terrorism

    Well, from a certain age on lugging around explosives just becomes so darn hard on ones back :D.

  8. Dean says:

    @Hey Norm: @Hey Norm: Please clarify. Are you saying association with Occupy Cleveland is dubious?

  9. Chad S says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I didn’t bring up the tea party.

    @Dean: Thanks for failing reading comprehension.

  10. Dean says:

    @Chad S: You stated the media didn’t tie Operation Rescue to Dr. Tiller’s murder. A simple Google search would have shown that to not be the case. Help me understand what part of your post I missed.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    I think this:

    But, then, this is what happens when you have a leaderless “movement.”

    Is a silly remark. Leaderless or led, movements sometimes go astray.

    That said there’s been an extremist, anarchist element in Occupy from the start. I’m a bit surprised that these characters took it as far as they did — recent anarchists have been mostly loudmouthed idiots looking for an excuse to commit vandalism, not terrorists.

    Occupy members need to reject these individuals and distance themselves from extremists. They need to cooperate with the FBI in any reasonable investigation. If called upon to give evidence or testify they need to do so. They need to take a look at their rhetoric and ask themselves whether it is in touch with reality. The only way for any movement to survive events like this is to make very clear where they stand, and that they do not stand with terrorists, period.

    I don’t think the answer is a defensive,”We’re not to blame.” I think the answer is is a forceful, “We despise those people, we reject those people, we are committed to peaceful protest.”

  12. michael reynolds says:

    Apparently this is the official statement by Occupy Cleveland:

    May 1, 2012 – Cleveland – While the persons arrested Monday evening by the FBI have participated in Occupy Cleveland events, they were in no way representing or acting on behalf of Occupy Cleveland. Occupy Cleveland has affirmed the principles of non-violence since its inception on October 6, 2011.

    Occupy Cleveland has spoken out and worked against violence in all its forms, including:

    Wars and occupations
    Economic violence of financial inequality, unemployment, debt, and foreclosure
    Social violence of racism, sexism and homophobia
    Environmental violence of global warming and fracking
    Occupy Cleveland believes the only way to respond to a violent federal and corporate state is through active non-violence.

    It is unfortunate that this occurred on the eve of May Day, the day the Occupy movement and workers around the world have taken to the streets, demanding justice. What has happened in no way discredits the issue and the non-violent methods of Occupy Cleveland and the Occupy movement worldwide.

    I think that’s inadequate. Don’t pivot to equating this planned act of terrorism to drawing moral equivalencies with the “Economic violence of financial inequality.” That’s stupid rhetorically and it is suicidal politically.

    Condemn clearly, forcefully, and unequivocally. I don’t know why so many people don’t get this. Muslim groups don’t get it, anti-abortion groups don’t get it, now these people. An act of terrorism is not an opportunity to posture.

  13. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Sadly, my experience has been that the reason they don’t get it is because in their souls, they tend to be kindred spirits with the terrorists in question. Remember, your “terrorist” is my “freedom fighter” and vise-versa.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:
    I think in many cases that’s true. I think that kind of “On the other hand. . .” rhetoric from some Muslims after 9/11 made it all that much harder on them. The correct answer was not, “But we should recognize the legitimate blah blah blah. . .” The correct answer was, “I’d like to personally shoot the bastards responsible. . .”

    I agree with the general thrust of Occupy. But there’s zero overlap between me and some deranged, murderous little f*ck who thinks it would be a good idea to blow up a bridge carrying the 99% from home to work. If found guilty in a fair trial, stick them in a concrete cell for 20 years. They get no sympathy from me.

  15. Racehorse says:

    @Chad S: I don’t know where you’re at, but around here it seemed like it was 24/7 for weeks, even on local talk radio, local news, discussion groups, and of course the newspaper, etc.

  16. Jenos Idanian says:

    Time for an update here: all five bombers are part of the Occupy movement, and some held key roles in the group. The Daily Caller has been all over this.

  17. An Interested Party says:

    It’s hardly surprising that some people would like to use this incident to smear the entire Occupy movement…after all, many of these same people try to use Islamic terrorism to smear an entire religion…

  18. Todd says:

    The political crap that we get “outragged” about is so stupid.

    If anything, watching the way that the Occupy movement has been hammered, has caused me to reassess some of my criticisms of the Tea Party.

    You can judge and/or condemn an entire organization based on the fact that a certain percentage of those who claim to support it turn out to be absolute morons.

  19. Todd says:

    @Todd: sorry “can’t judge .. “

  20. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: Now, if this was the only such incident, you might — might — have a point.

    Alas, it isn’t.

    At what point would you consider it not a bug, but a feature?

  21. Lit3Bolt says:

    Wait, you mean Doug Mataconis isn’t issuing wails and shrieks to withhold “rushing to judgement” in this case but was absolutely beside himself about the “innocent until proven guilty” George Zimmerman? I’m confused.

    But then again, this is what happens when you “blog” with zero self-awareness of your own prejudice and bias.

  22. Hey Norm says:

    @ Dean…
    I’m saying it’s extremely tenuous.
    Even if everyone crashing in that warehouse were involved in the so-called plot…that’s an infinitesimaly small percentage of 99% of the population. And as Doug himself points out…and then ignores…it’s a leaderless, de-centralized, non-organization. (As opposed to….say….the Tea Party which is organized, funded, and led by employees of the Koch Bros and Dick Armey.)
    But you do now have a bright shiney object…like a cat and a sunbeam…with which to distract yourself from 30+ years of exploding income inequality and the undue influence that has given people like the Koch Brothers and Dick Armey.

  23. Hey Norm says:

    Jenos links to the Daily Caller…you can’t make it up.
    The fact that Jenos’ world view is influenced by the Daily Caller explains so much.

  24. Delmar says:

    Some of these groups police their own. Our local OWS chapter (numbers about 10-12, depending on the weather and available snacks) kicked one guy out who set fire to a US flag and got the whole town mad at them. I have a question: how do they afford to rent a whole warehouse? (that would have to include utilities, water, trash pick up).

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: I was wondering… “was there anything dumber than a guy who only talks in left-wing talking points?” And you gave me the answer — yes! “A guy who only talks in thoroughly-debunked and provably false left-wing talking points!”

    The Koch Brothers and Dick Armey (tell me, do you have a macro that types that out for you?) have ties to small factions of the Tea Party movement. The majority of the movement just nods politely to them, but doesn’t want (or need) their money or resources.

    On the other hand, the Democratic leadership and Big Labor have wholeheartedly embraced the Occupy movement, with Big Labor actually going into partnership with the Fleabaggers in quite a few cities.

    And yes, I linked to Treacher and the Daily Caller — because one link went on to The Smoking Gun and, and the other to several other links to back up Treacher’s assertions. It was simple economizing.

    Well, OK, using a link to Treacher had its own appeal, as well. But he had the direct links to prove the point.

    So, while the headline and article indicate that one suspect was “tied” to the Occupy Cleveland group, the reality is all five were involved in the movement, the plot came about through that association, and at least two of the suspects played significant leadership roles in the group. One had co-signed a lease, and another had been the lead organizer on at least one event. Further, the second — Brandon “Skabby” Baxter — was featured prominently in several of the group’s videos documenting their deeds.

    I wonder… does Massachusetts Senatorial Candidate Elizabeth Warren claim to have laid the “intellectual foundation” for this plot? Does House Minority Leader (and former Speaker) Nancy Pelosi bless them? Does Obama support this aspect of the movement?